Agence France-PresseDecember 19, 2013 14:08
First-time claims for US unemployment benefits rose for the second consecutive week last week, hitting a nine-month high during the year-end holiday season, government data released Thursday showed.
Initial jobless claims, a sign of the pace of layoffs, rose to 379,000 in the week ending December 14 from a revised 369,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said.
The last time claims were near that level was in late March.
The increase surprised analysts, who had expected claims to fall to 333,000 last week. A year ago, claims totaled 366,000.